The French island of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean might be the winter playground of the rich and famous, but unless you arrive via private yacht or boat charter, all the gobs of money in the world can't save you from enduring the white-knuckled landing on the short airstrip at St. Barth's Gustaf III/St. Jean Airport (SBH).
The concrete runway begins at the base of slight hill, and goes for only 2,100 feet before landing right on St. Jean's beach and the harbor of the island's second largest town. Sunbathers can totally lie out right next to the sand strip at the end of the runway, this it's a hugely popular plane spotting destination for those who enjoy small, prop planes. You see, because of the itty-bitty airport and runway size, major flights must land at the neighboring island of St. Maarten, where they have a big, modern airport. From there, the Barths-bound folks either jump aboard a ferry or hop a WINAIR, Air Caraïbes, and St-Barth Commuter flight in planes usually holding twenty or less passengers.
An airplane crashes, after the jump.
And since St. Barth is quite the hotspot from the end of November through the beginning of March, you can imagine how many small planes buzz over the tops of the houses and cars like mosquitos, on their steep approach to SBH. Although it is a dangerous airport, there have been few accidents. The video above shows the most recent: a Piper Aztec ran out of runway and crashed on the beach this last May, amazingly with no injuries.